132
132

EVERYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE IS REAL: PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Fernand Léger
UN VASE BLEU, UN TAPIS ROUGE
Estimate
300,000500,000
LOT SOLD. 500,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
132

EVERYTHING YOU CAN IMAGINE IS REAL: PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION

Fernand Léger
UN VASE BLEU, UN TAPIS ROUGE
Estimate
300,000500,000
LOT SOLD. 500,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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Fernand Léger
1881 - 1955
UN VASE BLEU, UN TAPIS ROUGE
Signed F. Leger and dated 52 (lower right); signed F. Leger, titled and dated 52 (on the reverse)
Oil on canvas
21 1/4 by 25 1/2 in.
54 by 64.8 cm
Painted in 1952.
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Provenance

Galerie Louis Carré, Paris (acquired from the artist)
Theodore Schempp, New York
Lee Ault & Company, New York
Charles Zadok, Thessaloniki & New York (and sold by the estate: Sotheby's, New York, May 11, 1988, lot 406)
Acquired at the above sale

Exhibited

Milwaukee, Milwaukee Art Institute & Cincinnati, Cincinnati Art Museum, Still Life Painting, 1956, n.n.

Literature

Georges Bauquier, Fernand Léger, Catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre peint 1952-1953, Paris, 2013, no. 1485, illustrated in color p. 49

Catalogue Note

The genre of the still life, more than any other subject or motif, functioned as the vehicle for Léger’s myriad metamorphoses as an artist. From dynamic Cubist compositions breaking down traditional perspectives to colorful Purist paintings emphasizing simplicity of line to the graphic works such as the present lot, which presages Pop Art, Léger leveraged the versatility of the still life genre to experiment with form, color and composition. The present work is culmination of these experiments painted near the end of Léger’s life.

Léger’s affinity for primary colors traces back to the principles of Purism, a movement that was a part of the broader rappel à l’ordre in the aftermath of World War I. Pivoting away from Cubism, Léger sought to strip down his art to the pure essence of things. Once dynamic still lifes devolved into forms with simple outlines. Flat planes of color took precedence over the dizzying deconstruction of perspective. Orderly arrangement of objects was prized above a faithful representation of reality.

In Un Vase bleu, un tapis rouge a painted vase and a potted plant stand side by side on an irregularly shaped red rug, their outlines marked in black against a flat background. Léger places the objects in harmonious combination with each other, depicting them volumetrically and letting their form and color assume expressive power. 

The simplicity with which the artist has composed the picture is evocative of techniques associated today with the generation of Pop artists and street artists who followed Léger in their elevation of everyday objects. Traces of Léger’s legacy as a still-life painter can be found in the works of such artists as Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney and Jonas Wood (see fig. 1). James Rosenquist once said of the master: “Léger, I believe, was a colorist... I admired him greatly. I wish I could have met him” (quoted in Fernand Léger, Paris-New York (exhibition catalogue), The Fondation Beyeler, Basel, 2008, p. 148).

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

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New York